Saturday night’s sold out Eels show at World Cafe Live had plenty of oddball moments, from the sad clown singing tragic songs, to Mark Oliver Everett and the rest of his track-suited gang schticking it up for a solid hour and a half set.
The night started with a clown named Puddles meandering through the crowd with a old suitcase and lit lantern. He seemed to be looking for someone but never found them. He suddenly climbed on the stage from the crowd, placed his suitcase down and just stood at the microphone looking nervous. Then the house music stopped, the lights went down and Puddles Pity Party’s performance began. His voice was a strong while he sang sad tunes to minimal recordings about losing his past loves and being alone. Suddenly a guy in a dress wearing a monkey mask came out and sat at the front of the stage, eating bananas and making lewd gestures with them while throwing the peels into the crowd. Puddles never acknowledged the monkey-person though. All puddles did beside sing was dry his eyes with tissues during “Lonely Guy,” before leaving the stage the same way he came. He even did a crushing rendition of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Really, it was hard to not feel sorry for the him – the performance felt real. Puddles Pity Party wasn’t gimmicky, it was truly moving.
New Jersey’s Nicole Atkins played next, but without her band. Her soulful, solo-guitar set was outstanding and seemed to make the crowd melt a little more with every song. “Cry Cry Cry,” from 2011’s Mondo Amore was a stand-out. She shared the new and unreleased “Red Ropes,” and wore her heart on shoulder as she sang surprisingly heartbroken songs.
Before Eels took the stage, the crowd was abuzz, knowing they were about to get a couple laughs and see one of the most tongue-in-cheek rock shows around. As the band walked out, they were greeted immediately by people yelling “The Chet!” – the guitarist in the band, and a fan favorite. They started their set just as their latest record, Wonderful, Glorious does, with “Bombs Away.” Then lead singer Everett, or E, hugged a band member. Then they played the next song from that record, “Kinda Fuzzy,” and E hugged another band member. He’d repeat this for the first four songs; later all five joined in a group hug. Continue reading →